With Generous Hearts By Glenn N. and Barbara Holliman
Rev. Linda Parker
With Generous Hearts was written by one who is currently the Planned Officer for the Episcopal Church in Tennessee and his spouse. The book begins by reflecting on the Holliman’s experience in a local parish’s capital campaign and some of the “bad” practices that churches engage in. Then he moves on to the good stuff.
Outlined are six fundamental steps in raising funds: 1)Identifying the need, 2)Identifying potential donors, 3) Communicating the need, 4) asking for the gifts, 5) saying thank you, and 6) continuing the process. This is pretty basic fundraising but it is helpful to name and explore these steps.
There is a great graphic and explanation entitled the Ladder of Fund Raising Effectiveness. In 9 steps of the ladder the book explores the effectiveness of techniques in fundraising going from the highly effective “one on one call by a committed person on another” all the way down to “audio and visual material” techniques.
I like the simple graphics that show a three legged stool in relationship to an annual giving and stewardship campaign. The Hillman’s say we all have a theology of stewardship (which is the first leg of the stool) but there must be a mission driven budget and effective asking to make these annual campaigns successful. There is a good section on how to frame a mission driven budget.
The next chapters have to do with discerning the need for a capital campaign in a church or related organization. Again there is a three legged stool and a discussion with a great checklist for the discernment process.
The book highlights the importance of doing a feasibility study and suggests that an outside consultant should be involved to get objective information about what is possible in your particular setting.
Next we move to the gift giving phase and there is a thorough discussion of preparation, planning and carrying out that process.
There is a good chapter that addresses such questions as how a capital campaign might affect your annual stewardship campaign, how much you can expect people to give, the right timing and how such a campaign relates to endowment building.
The next few chapters were of less interest to me – because they dealt with conducting a Diocese wide capital campaign, raising money for a church school campaign, church agency capital campaigns and College Chaplaincy fund raising. For those involved in these efforts there was good information about things like deciding who your constituents are and getting help from outside sources.
Chapter eleven deals with planned giving campaigns – something we all need to do. There was even a discussion of policy creation.
The final chapter talks about what one can expect from a church architect.
The book covers a lot of ground, is easy to read and clearly states principals that would be helpful to people raising money in churches and in church agencies. There is some theological underpinning to the book, but that seems to be assumed by the author.
I would say it’s a good read, directed at Boards or constituency groups that are dealing with these issues. It has lots of helpful information.
For myself – I have appreciated resources that give actual sample letters or designs for campaigns. But there is a lot here to help committees begin their work.
Dr. Linda Parker is the Senior Minister at East Side Christian Church in Evansville, IN. She received her Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School and her Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University School of Theology.